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“The president ordered you to kill me?” Johnson’s eyes were wide with fear and disbelief.

“After what happened last week, the president has decided this War on Terror is not just a campaign slogan. He’s dealing with the aftermath of the attacks, trying to find the guys who are still at large and make those who helped them pay, and in the midst of all of that he finds out that the CIA’s inspector general has left the country and flown to fucking Caracas, Venezuela, of all places.” Rapp saw the surprise in Johnson’s eyes. “That’s right. Your old buddy Glen Adams.

We’ve been on to him for about a month now. Someone slipped up, he got spooked, and he bolted. Turns out he’s been working for that thug Chavez for the past four years.”

“Hugo Chavez?”

“None other. We started going through his stuff and unfortunately your name was all over the place.”

Johnson swallowed hard.

“That’s how we got on your tail. We didn’t know shit about Sidorov and all these other pet projects you had going.”

“People saw me last night. A lot of people.” Johnson looked up and pointed at Rapp. “And they saw you, too.”

“Russians. All of them. They play by a different set of rules. They respect this.” Rapp waved his gun around. “They know I’ll hunt them down and put a bullet in their head. A guy like Sidorov . . . he has enough problems. The last thing he wants is a guy like me hounding him.”

“Those two security guys,” Johnson said with a “got you” expression on his face. “They were American. They saw me. They saw you drag me out of the club.”

“You mean the two guys from Triple Canopy? The former Special Forces guys? We already talked to them. Gave them the rap sheet on what you’ve been up to. They wanted to know if they could help with the interrogation. I told them I’d see how things went this morning.” Rapp checked his watch. It was six-fifty-six. “You’ve got thirty minutes to convince me that I should stay your execution.”

Johnson was staring off into the distance with a blank expression on his face.

“Do you understand what I just said?”

“I can’t believe he was working for Hugo Chavez.”

Rapp didn’t show it, but he was smiling inside. Maybe there was a bit of a patriot still in the man. “None of us are too pleased about it. Now did you understand what I just said?”


“I’m not sure you did, so I’m going to make it real clear. The president has told me to kill you. He’s furious that a guy with Adams’s security clearance has defected. Between you and me, he’s horrified that little sausage Chavez is going to parade Adams in front of the cameras. He knows you helped Adams collect a lot of his information.” Rapp shrugged. “He can’t get his hands on Adams, so you’re the next best thing.”

“I didn’t know he was working for Chavez.”

“Max,” Rapp said with a heavy sigh, “I’d like to feel some sympathy for you, but it’s not like you didn’t know you were breaking the law. You climbed into bed with a rat bastard and you were caught. Now . . . the only chance you have of living a minute past seven-thirty is if you put all your cards on the table. I know this won’t be easy for you because you’re a professional liar. You’re going to have to fight your instincts. If I think you’re lying, and trust me, I’ll know when you are, the gun comes out and we do the left foot, right foot thing. Understand?”

“And if I tell you the truth?”

Rapp grinned. “Let’s just say, there are a few people around here who think you’re pretty good at what you do.”

“What’s that suppo

sed to mean?”

“It means, if you are completely honest and you hold nothing back, I might consider letting you live. And if I think I can trust you, I might even give you a job.”

There was a genuine glimmer of hope in his eyes. Johnson sat up a little straighter like a dog ready to please. “All right. I think I understand.”

“Let’s hear it, and remember, no lies.”

“All right . . . about six months ago Glen came to me and explained his suspicions about what you and Irene were up to. He said that I was the only one who would understand his situation. That if you were going to catch someone who was breaking the law, you couldn’t fight fair. You had to be willing to break the rules yourself.”

“And you agreed,” Rapp said in a reasonable tone, wanting to help him along.

“Yes.” Johnson started to speak but stopped.

“Fight it,” Rapp said. “Your only chance is to tell the truth.”